Often left to the end of the budget when building from scratch or renovating, the driveway is actually one of the most important aspects of your home. Not because you have to be able to drive down it without a 4-wheel drive, but because it’s the first thing you or your guests will see and experience on arriving at your property. “I am trying to sell the curb appeal, the wow factor that people will appreciate,” says Kevin Horsfield, general manager of Horsfield Landscape & Design Ltd. “The curb appeal is what makes a house. First impressions are very important.”

A driveway can’t just look good, however. It needs to be tough, practical and also porous. For a hard surface driveway, Horsfield says brick, concrete or asphalt are the most common materials, but he warns that concrete is prone to cracking and asphalt isn’t very attractive. A new product he particularly recommends, however, is “hydropave,” which is a porous brick made from recycled crushed ceramic tiles, available in different colours and styles. “This product is very good for drainage problems,” he says. “You can empty a bottle of water on it and it will pour right through.” He installed it at the BAC showroom in Mills Creek. “BAC were thrilled with the finish,” he says. “It stood up to heavy traffic and flooding.” He added that to meet current planning requirements, “developments have to have a certain percentage of soft surfacing to allow for site drainage. It is not recommended to do a full site hard surface.”

In terms of cost, hydropave is a more expensive, upmarket look compared to concrete or asphalt, but he adds “far more attractive and very hard wearing.” If you prefer something more “green,” Horsfield recommends a “turfstone” or “eco grid,” which is also good for drainage issues and which he installed in the Horseshoe Bay car park. “They enable grass to grow in between,” he says. A hard surface Horsfield also likes is old Chicago brick, but not so much when it’s wet and cold. “Old Chicago brick are lovely, but they tend to get mildewed in the winter months,” he says. They will therefore need to be properly cleaned annually. He does add, however, that they are a warm brick suited to Bermuda’s character.

When designing a driveway, you don’t have to go for just the one material or pattern, and it’s important to consider how it fits in with the rest of the hard surfacing around the house, such as pathways leading from the driveway or around the garden. You can, for example, combine brick and natural stone, and use modular concrete pavers to create an interesting pattern or specify areas such as turning and parking. If space allows, Horsfield likes to design the parking area away from the home so “people can then walk into the house and enjoy the front entrance experience.”